Sharp Practise - Radiocity
Order Number rising005
Retail Price from indie-cds.com site A$25.00:
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review from whisperinanhollerin.com -
Not to be confused with Big Star's classic "Radio City" album, "Radiocity" is Lancashire quartet SHARP PRACTISE'S second album and showcases a tight and focussed band with an unfailing ear for classic radio-friendly tunes.
Produced with clarity by well-respected deskmeister Mark Daghorn (responsible for numerous talented hard rockers such as Brody and Pilfa Confession Box who've previously been scrutinised on W&H), "Radiocity" features ten extremely well-crafted tracks written by vocalist/ keyboardist Nigel Clothier and his cohorts get into all the required crevices as they fill the sound out impressively.
Opener "Bridge Across The Harbour" gives you some idea of the area Sharp Practise are working in. It's emotional, well-played music for adults that brilliantly never lapses into AOR territory. It's driven by yearning, commanding vocals and some slashing guitar work - both supplied by Ant Kempster - and builds meticulously to a memorable chorus.
As the album continues, Sharp Practise prove themselves to be adept at loud'n'hooky rockers ("Bed Of Rhythm"), brash and moving anthems ("How Katie Feels", the showstopping, windswept closing "How Do You Take It") and plaintive guitar pop, like on "No Thanks" - which with its' acerbic lyrical stabs (e.g: "I've been in tighter spots than this/ falling out with you is a lifetime study") - is the kind of thing Neil Finn has made his trademark over the years.
It's all generous on the ear, and overall "Radiocity" stands as a very strong album, though if push came to shove, your reviewer would probably choose "Family Of Nations" and "Paint My Dreams" as the stand-out tracks. The former marries an excellent lyrical call for understanding (sample lyric: "If we learn from one another, then we'll have no need to fight") with dramatic Who-style powerchords (think "Baba O'Riley" as a starting point) that come full circle. It's neat, powerful gear, as is "Paint My Dreams", which - with its' funky wah-wah and furious discoid drumming - recalls INXS before they went crap and got bloated. Urgent, in a word.
Sharp Practise are a talented band, more than worth keeping an eye on. They are a further reminder that both the provinces and the small, smart labels will always keep us on our toes, which is surely the way it should be. Besides, any band who can use the phrase "liar, liar, your pants are on fire" ("No Thanks") in a lyric and make it sound utterly magnificent gets my vote any day of the year.
author: Tim Peacock